Friday, May 23, 2014

On Memorial Day
There are war monuments all across America. I’ve seen many of them. I make a point to look at them. The great monuments to the horse artillery that stand in front of the Capitol building in Washington show the energy and determination of the men in action. Some monuments are on the actual battlefields. The massive granite shrine that marks where Pennsylvania regiments stood at Gettysburg and the substantial, but simple markers that show where each brigade dug in on top of Kennesaw Mountain. (My great great Grandfather’s unit is listed there, the 3rd Texas Cavalry.) Small towns across America have war monuments too. It seems like every little town across the South has one in the town square or where the center of town used to be.  These monuments are often a single soldier or just as often a simple obelisk with the names of the dead. When I look at these monuments, I’ve always thought of the men they memorialize.  What they did, what it meant to their comrades, and what they gave for our country.

I saw a photograph of a monument that made me think of something else this year. The words were   “Erected by the Ladies Memorial Association 1871.”  Those simple words let me know that this was not a monument erected by the veterans as so many others. It was “Erected by the ladies…” Looking at this monument, for the first time, I didn’t think of the men. I thought of the women who missed them. The “ladies” were the wives, mothers, and sisters who would never see their loved ones again. In the years right after the war, when some had lost everything, they must have set about the task of building this monument with energy, love, and devotion. It became a memorial to their men and how much these men meant to them.

When I think of what Memorial Day means, I think of the sacrifice of the fallen and what they did to shape and defend our nation. But I’ll also remember what else that sacrifice meant.  That 150 years ago, the people who put up those monuments had suffered the loss on a personal level.   From now on, I’ll look at the monuments they built and think not just of the soldiers, but of the people who loved them. Thank you ladies. 
Photo copyright Hannah Pop Rocki. Used with permission
Photo copyright Hannah Pop Rocki. Used with permission

Friday, January 03, 2014

Village Voice and Glock Advertising


Response from Senator Chambliss

Dear Master Chief Petty Officer [FOD]:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the budget resolution and its unacceptable and disproportionate impact on military retirement cost-of-living adjustments (COLA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

On December 19, 2013, the Senate passed H.J.Res.59, a step towards finalizing the first federal budget in four years. While I voted for final passage and believe that this bipartisan budget deal is necessary to giving our federal agencies, and specifically the Department of Defense, the fiscal certainty needed to complete our vital missions and provide for our warfighters currently deployed in harm's way, I am deeply concerned about the impact it will have on military retirees.

Section 403 of H.J.Res.59 imposes a one percent reduction on military retirement COLA for all retirees under the age of 62. Unlike similar provisions for their civilian federal employee counterparts, current military retirees are not grandfathered in, causing our veterans to bear a disproportionate burden of our deficit reduction. This is totally unacceptable.

Therefore, I introduced S.Res.323 on December 19, 2013, expressing the sense of the Senate that retirees from the Armed Forces should not unfairly bear the burden of excessive government spending. Military retirees earned the benefits they were promised upon entering military service, and it is the duty of the Senate to protect them. The Senate should seek alternatives to the current military retirement provisions in the budget. I also intend to introduce legislation to fully repeal the military retiree COLA reductions and replace them with an equivalent offset from elsewhere in the budget.

It is important to remember that the current military COLA reduction provision does not take effect until December 1, 2015. I am committed to fully repealing this inequitable section prior to 2015. I understand your concerns, and will keep your thoughts in mind as the Senate continues to debate this important issue.

If you would like to receive timely email alerts regarding the latest congressional actions and my weekly e-newsletter, please sign up via my web site at: Please let me know whenever I may be of assistance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

My annual memorial day remembrance of the Navy cryptologists (cryptologic technicians) killed in action from the Cold War through the War on Terror in here.  Sadly, there is a new name on the roll of the fallen this year.  Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (Information Dominance Warfare/Surface Warfare) Christian Pike was killed earlier this year.

The special day is nice to have. It reminds those who never served of the sacrifices of those who paid the ultimate price for out freedoms.

For those of us who served. We don't wait for a special day. We remember you.Often.
We went where you went. We did what you did. Maybe more. Maybe less. It could have been us.
But it was you. We remember you. Often.
We thank you.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The President is Angry Again

Ron Fournier has written a National Journal report of today's defeat of some gun control legislation.

I was reading it all the way through an thinking about writing a post to respond to some of his assertions.  He blames the Senate Republican and the NRA, but almost gets it right, when he writes "It’s hard to overcome challenges that are inherent. While polls show broad support for background checks, they also show a deep distrust of Obama among conservative voters, particularly in red states. Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor’s supporters will tell you the only thing more dangerous than backing gun control in Arkansas is backing Obama—on anything"  But misses that most "conservative voters" would support the President if he would simply take a position that they could support.  It's not personal with us.  Really.  Why is that so hard to believe?

I could go on... but the point of this post is that today, April 17, 2013, our angry President is back.

He hadn't been seen for a while.  I don't know whether that because it wasn't reported or if the President has had his emotions in control for the past four years.   But I'll make my original point again.

"Doesn't sound very cool to me. I never before thought of the implications of having an angry President. Not comforting."

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Willy Victor Shootdown - Forty Four Years

John Lilyea at This Ain't Hell... has posted a nice memorial to the Willy Victor crew killed 44 years ago by the North Koreans.

I learned something new - I never knew that April 15th was Kim Il Sung's birthday.
He does a good job putting it in the context of the Cold War and making it relevant to today's headlines.

The lesson we learned from that shoot-down, one that was strongly emphasized in future Cold War reconnaissance missions, was that when you're flying close to a hostile, hair-trigger nation's airspace, where you are is not as important as where they think you are. That is, if their air defense system believes you have penetrated their country's sovereign air space, they just might try to kill you. The challenge was answering the question "where do they think we are and what do they intend to do about it?"
My Memorial Day post from 2009 lists what I believe to be all Navy crypologists (Cryptologic Technicians, radio Marines, and officers) killed in action since the beginning of the Cold War.

Rest in Peace guys.

Friday, April 12, 2013

It's All About Control

Imagine how a gay person might feel living in some state like Mississippi, Utah, or Florida where gay couples are banned from adopting children (until a recent court case overturned the Florida law).

Imagine trying to defend against arguments why you shouldn't have the right to adopt a child.

The people who would prohibit gay adoption, just want to "protect the children," of course. They want to legislate morality and gays have a lifestyle they disagree with.  The don't understand the attraction. Besides, male pedophiles who molest young boys are, by definition, homosexuals. They say by putting innocent children in a home with homosexual, you're exposing them to potential child molesters.

The law abiding gay guy is left defending himself with, "But I'm not a child molester. I would never harm a child."

I think that if your first response in an argument has to be "I'm not a child molester," then the other side has put you at a serious disadvantage. The other sides whole premise may be wrong, projecting the intent and criminal acts of the mentally ill (or just evil) pedophile onto you. "Pedophiles like boys, you like boys, so you're the same as a pedophile."   It's dishonest. It's a cheap shot. It plays on emotions of protecting the children. It equates a law abiding citizen to a criminal in order to advance a social agenda.

Kinda like the gun control arguments.

These legal moralists want to impose their values on the rest of the country. The don't approve of guns, they don't understand the attraction.  They know the some people with guns commit horrible criminal acts agains the innocent. "Murderers use guns, you use guns, so you're the same as a murderer."

Law abiding gun owners stand open mouthed in frustration, crying "but I'm not a murderer, I would never harm a child." Just like a gay guy wanting to adopt a child...

The people who would prohibit gay adoption by a loving couple and the people who would restrict gun ownership by law abiding citizens usually come from two different ends of the political spectrum. But the arguments from both sides are equally dishonest, playing on emotions to advance their view of what a good society should be, imposing their values and restricting peoples liberty through the force of government.

Gay bashers and gun grabbers. I think they have much more in common than they would ever admit.
North Korea has a nuclear weapons delivery system

North Korean nuclear capability was inadvertently revealed this week when a congressman read a portion of a DIA report "He said, reading from the report: "DIA assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivering by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low.''
North Korea has announced their intent.  Now they apparently have some capability. 

But policymakers are reduced to hedging about the reliability of their systems? 

Hope is not a strategy.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) (IDW/SW) Christian Michael Pike

 Chief Petty Officer Christian Michael Pike, 31, of Peoria, Arizona died March 13 in Landstuhl, Germany as a result of combat related injuries sustained on March 10 while conducting stability operations in Maiwand District, Afghanistan. He was assigned to West Coast-based Naval Special Warfare Support Activity ONE. 
Cross posted from the Captain's blog.
For a roll of Navy Cryptologist killed since the beginning of the Cold War, see my Memorial Day post from 2009.  Unfortunately, I have to keep adding names. Rest in Peace shipmates. 

Do You Believe North Korea

Via HotAir, CBS News reports that "North Korea is urging all foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to evacuate or find out where they can take shelter because it says the rival Koreas are on the eve of a nuclear war. The new threat appeared to be an attempt to keep the region on tenterhooks over its intentions.

Analysts see a direct attack on Seoul as extremely unlikely, and there are no overt signs that North Korea's 1.2 million-man army is readying for war, let alone a nuclear one."

So telling people to evacuate or take cover is not an overt sign?  Capability and intent. They have nuclear weapons, they are demonstrating intent.

I remember reading the words a Holocaust survivor had taught his son about what he had learned

"When someone says they are going to kill you—you must believe them."